AI Poses Threat of Fueling Holocaust Denial and Anti-Semitism, Warns UNESCO

New Report Highlights Dangers of Deepfakes and Misinformation

AI Poses Threat of Fueling Holocaust Denial and Anti-Semitism, Warns UNESCO

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has issued a stark warning: artificial intelligence (AI) technology could be misused to spread misinformation about World War II atrocities like the Holocaust, including promoting Holocaust denial.

A report published in collaboration with the World Jewish Congress found that the creation of misleading content like deepfakes and disinformation can undermine the authenticity of historical evidence and fuel anti-Semitic ideologies.

The report raises concerns about the growing use of AI in education, research, and writing, which could increase the chance of unreliable data being disseminated.

"If we allow the horrific truths of the Holocaust to be weakened, distorted, or erased through irresponsible use of AI, we risk an explosion of anti-Semitism," declared UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay.

Young People Particularly Vulnerable

The report highlights the particular vulnerability of young people encountering deepfake images and audio content on social media platforms. UN research suggests that four out of five young people aged 10-24 now use AI daily for education, entertainment, and other purposes.

The report cites the example of a historical figure app that reportedly allowed users to chat with notorious Nazis like Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels. The app spread misinformation by falsely claiming figures like Goebbels were not actively involved in the Holocaust and even tried to stop violence against Jews.

Demand for Ethical AI Use

UNESCO is urging governments to accelerate the implementation of recommendations on AI ethics, unanimously adopted by its member states in 2021. The UN agency also calls on tech companies to establish ethical guidelines for AI development and use, aimed at minimizing the generation of unreliable information and preventing malicious actors from spreading misinformation.